Page Speed for SEO
As of this month (July 2018) Google is now using mobile page speed as a ranking factor in search results. Google calls this update the “Speed Update” and although they have stated that only a small number of search queries will be affected, it is those pages that are slowest that will be impacted by the update.
This update is now live so have you checked your speed? You can use Google’s updated PageSpeed Insights Tool to get an overview of how well your website performs both on mobile and desktop. The tool will show your current page stats, optimisation you’ve already done but most importantly, the optimisation you can make to increase page speed both on-site and on your server.
Pages are graded on the following levels:
- Fast – measuring against the fastest third of all page speed loads
- Slow – measuring against the slowest third of all page speed loads
- Average – measuring against the middle third of all page speed loads
The tool will categorise your pages as being either fast, slow or average measuring against the average for that median value across the web. It will also show you the optimisation score of that page, makes suggestions on what you can do to improve page optimisation and suggest best practices that can be applied to the page. All in all, a great tool if a little geeky but that’s what SEO Experts are for, to translate and make information gained from these tools, a valuable resource to improve website performance.
Lighthouse for Auditing Your Website performance
There’s also the very handy tool Lighthouse which is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of your website. It currently runs from Chrome DevTools and you’ll need to download Google Chrome for Desktop and Chrome DevTools but once you’re past that, it is a very handy tool for insights in your web pages.
Why is Page Speed Important for SEO?
So back to the issue of why Page Speed is important for SEO and ultimately, getting your website found. Back in 2010 Google said page speed was a ranking factor and incorporated it into their ranking algorithm. From Google’s perspective this makes perfect sense. They want to provide users with the best possible experience as well as the most relevant results. You may have great content but if that page takes an age to load because you’ve got some fancy graphic or animation, then page speed will be affected. Ultimately users will not wait around and go somewhere else to find what they are looking for. Logical really!
Why does Page Speed matter for business?
There are numerous studies (in particular Eric Schurman & Jake Brutlag’s Peformance Related Changes and their User Impace) that show users prefer fast loading pages. These studies demonstrate that slow pages, even by milliseconds, has a measurable impact on user behaviour. Simply put, when pages are slow, there is less engagement. Users love fast websites and ultimately, a fast web!
Where does Page Speed fit in Google’s Algorithm?
There are over 200 different ranking factors in Google algorithms with page speed now increasing in importance. This has been the case for desktop since 2010 but now in 2018, mobile page speed is just as important and we shouldn’t over underestimate the impact of page speed on rankings.
Quality of content is still first and foremost but then how your page loads and the time it takes for users to access and interact with that content are the two most important elements to keep front-of-mind when creating website content.
If you’d like a free review of your website speed then get in touch.